Wednesday, March 01, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: INTERFERENCE BY KAY HONEYMAN


INTERFERENCE
BY: Kay Honeyman

PUBLISHED: 
September 27th 2016 by Arthur A. Levine Books

PURCHASED: Kindle E-book purchased on Amazon, Dec 2016


GENRES: YA / Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Politics, Jane Austin Retelling - Emma, Football, Sports, High School


RATING: 4 STARS


OVERVIEW:

I will not get involved…I will not get involved…I will not get involved…

As a congressman’s daughter in Washington, DC, Kate Hamilton always pushes to make things right. But when a scandal sends her family to Red Dirt, Texas, she decides to step back for a while. She’ll take pictures for her portfolio. She’ll volunteer at her aunt’s animal shelter. And most of all, she’ll stay out of politics (including her father’s latest election) and away from guys (especially after her ex’s betrayal).

But…

If Kate’s political skills can be useful in Red Dirt, should she really let them go to waste? After all, her friend Ana Gomez and quarterback Kyle Stone would be a perfect match. Her dad’s campaign could benefit from a teenage perspective. The irritatingly handsome Hunter Price should learn he doesn’t know everything…When Kate’s plans backfire, she must find the soul beneath her DC spin, and risk her heart—the biggest involvement of all.


REVIEW:
I am a die hard Austinite. So any retelling of her classic novels immediately captures my interest. Put it in front of my face and done. I'm in. 



I thought Honeyman was more creative than most retellings with a more complex take on the story. She injected more ingredients into the story that somewhat deluded the original plot. That said, I felt almost all of her changes were brilliant. However, the initial pacing was very slow and there were a couple issues that dimmed what should have been a brilliant retelling. One issue that I had trouble with was introducing this revenge bent to the character Kate. 


Emma was misguided at times, but the only time she was in any way intentionally rude was her remarks at the picnic. (You Austin fans know what I'm talking about...) Kate had a mean streak that wasn't part of the essential core of Emma. I felt it was a distraction in an overly packed novel. It was more of a distraction from all the other intriguing parts. But as you got to know Kate, you started to understand that her behavior was very much drilled home by her political home. Her parents are revealed to be distant and misguided. It was hard to connect with Kate for the first chunk of the book. That said, she did have a significant character development that led to an emotional connection to her. In fact, her parents seemed to have a "Come to Jesus" moment as well. I almost thought that it could have been more believable if her parents stayed self absorbed.


As an avid photographer, I loved exploring that aspect of the story. Kay used very accurate and vivid imagery and terms from photography that really illustrated points. That was probably the strongest aspect of the book. Her volunteer work was another solid book aspect.


The secondary characters were probably my favorite characters. I didn't quite know what to make of Hunter, but I can't give away more because I feel that would be a spoiler. Her aunt was fantastic as well as her best friend. 

There was a sports aspect to the book that lent another layer to the overall story. The ending definitely left room for a sequel. It was somewhat abrupt. An epilogue would have smoothed it out. 


It did hold strong to the thread of Austin's Emma thinking she was right, being helpful, even when she always ended up making a social mess. Kate was the same. She did try to help, however misguided. What made her connect more to her historical inspiration was how she truly changed and became humble.



I think the book as a whole would be enjoyable to anyone fond of Austin's work. For those who love contemporary fiction, this will definitely make your day. Overall, this was a creative take on historical classic and a unique storyline all on its own.






Tuesday, February 28, 2017

BOOK TO FILM NEWS: THE BREATHING TRILOGY BY REBECCA DONOVAN



The bestselling Breathing Series is being adapted to film!



Director, Frank Lotito, (Growing Up Smith), along with the books’ author, Rebecca Donovan, are collaborating on this innovative project.

Today they launched the Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to develop The Breathing Trilogy Film Series, comprised of 10 feature-length episodes. Alongside director/producer Frank Lotito, they will create a detailed proposal of the series to present to the networks this spring.

WATCH THE TRAILER FOR THE PROJECT HERE:
Breathing Film Series from Frank Lotito on Vimeo.

They have 7 days to reach their goal.  The campaign ends March 6. Please support them in making this film series a reality. Rebecca asked to send along this message, "I know YOU can make this happen. I believe in you, as you have believed in me all of these years."

Visit the campaign page to donate. You can also show your support by making others aware of this innovative film project. Tell everyone why you want to see Emma’s story come to life, exactly as it was portrayed in the books.

Rebecca is amazed every day by your passion and love of these books. Now let’s share this emotional story with the world!

If you haven't read this series, click here to check out my review of book one, Reason to Breathe.


Please find the details of the Indiegogo campaign HERE:  https://igg.me/at/BeTheReason

Monday, February 27, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: COURT OF VAMPIRES BY MEGAN LINSKI




COURT OF VAMPIRES (The Shifter Prophecy, #1)
BY: MEGAN LINKSKI


PUBLISHED: January 31st 2017 by Kindle Press

PURCHASED: Kindle Unlimited Purchase

GENRES: Paranormal, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Fantasy, Russian History & Royalty, Romance, Action, YA / Young Adult

RATING: 3.8 Stars

OVERVIEW:
Vampires and werewolves shouldn’t fall in love.

Lysandra was born for one reason; to kill shifters. Princess of vampires, the heir to Vlad Dracula’s throne and the last descendant of Princess Anastasia, Lysandra lives in a castle of witches and human slaves,engaged to a dark vampire prince and prophesied as the one who will end the war between vampires and werewolves forever. 

Everything changes when Lysandra finds a dying werewolf. She takes him into her care and quickly falls in love, unable to explain the magical connection between them. If she’s discovered, she will be put to death. But how can she stop the war when her worst enemy is her true love?

A heart-stopping love story filled with shocking twists, Court of Vampires is a thrilling young adult fantasy that readers will devour over and over again. The legend of what really happened to the Romanov family is retold in Megan Linski's newest haunting paranormal romance.


REVIEW:
I was incredibly pumped to see how the cornucopia of ideas would coalesce into a delicious novel. Combining vampires, werewolves, witches and European history? Yes, please.



The ideas were solid, but the delivery needs work.


The mechanics of the relationships was odd and inorganic. First, the humans are suppose to be "less than" but Lysandra's servant goes to school with her. Lidia does not act like a servant, but a petulant step sister. 



She's hung out reading magazines, going to school, and interacted with other Royalty. And I mean she acted like she could end up being one of them. She certainly never was seen being the lowly servant she was suppose to be. 

Second, the flow of the relationships was confusing. Her fiance acts all Doe eyed at her despite being apart for four years. Her relationship with Lisar started out organically, but Megan fast forwarded the relationship and ended up with a weird situation.



If they were so comfortable with each other, how did it end up so uncertain and disjointed? That leads me to my last issues with the book, dialogue.

The dialogue and reactions were the most distracting for me. Lisar and Lysandra had a good dialogue going, then when things start to heat up, it becomes inorganically awkward. Some of the conversations became prepubescent. I can't give away too much, but I will say that Lysandra would act like the 18 year old she was and then more like a 12 year old. What then upset me was they jumped to very mature situations, which made the whole scene a jumbled mess. 


 

The servant and royal interactions were in complete opposition to the mythology initially set up. Lidia is suppose to be a lowly human and yest she rolls her eyes at Lysandra saying "Now you want to hang out. Perfect." She goes to say, "I can't believe you manipulated Valentina into this." I understand that they were friends, but Lidia takes major liberties and risks with her flippant behavior towards the Princess. I felt confused the whole book.



Her grandfather was the cleanest, most edited and structured character. He was well defined and showed some depth. There really wasn't any character development. The characters never changed their core or made any gains. 

That said, I love the Romeo and Juliet theme applied to books. Which is ironic because I don't like Romeo and Juliet themselves, but the idea of lovers torn apart by opposing sides. I was hoping for more meat on the mythology and the relationship development of the two main protagonists. 

I had moments where I felt some connection to the characters. There was some tension felt in scenes, especially towards the end. The story had great bones, an intriguing back story and mythology. It unfortunately needed more fine tuning on the dialogue and maturation of characters.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

UPDATED NEW RELEASES PAGE!

Check out the completely updated NEW RELEASES page! Click here or on tab above.

FEBRUARY & MARCH NEW RELEASES  
Please refresh each visit as I will be frequently updating the list. 
(updated February 23, 2017) 


FEBRUARY 2017


MARCH 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

NEW RELEASE FEB 28th! THE SHIP BEYOND TIME BY HEIDI HEILIG


RELEASES: FEBRUARY 28, 2017!
GENRES: YA, Fantasy, Time Travel, Historical, Science Fiction, Romance, Adventure, Pirates

The breathtaking sequel to the acclaimed The Girl from Everywhere.

Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her future lies bright before her—until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves.
Desperate to change her fate, Nix sails her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems. Not even her relationship with Kash: best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire.

Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. At the center of this adventure are extraordinary, complicated, and multicultural characters who leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds. This sequel—and conclusion—to The Girl from Everywhere includes five black-and-white maps of historical and mythical locations. Fans of Rachel Hartman, Rae Carson, and Outlander will be swept away.

Pre-order your copy at Barnes & Noble here!
Pre-order your copy at Amazon.com here!

BOOK REVIEW: BY YOUR SIDE BY KASIE WEST


BY YOUR SIDE
BY: KASIE WEST

A STAND ALONE NOVEL

PUBLISHED: January 31st 2017 by Harper Teen,  342 pages

GENRES: YA, Contemporary Romance, High School, Anxiety, Physical/Mental Trauma,
Social Issues

PURCHASED: purchased paperback at Barnes & Noble

RATING: 4.4 STARS out of 5

OVERVIEW:
In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

REVIEW:
A book about being locked up in a library. With a cute guy? YES PLEASE. Can we say dream come true?!


Many people would be freaking out. Autumn was. At the lack of food and no blankets, I would have been too. However, the majestic row after row of lushious novels would have been a powerful distraction for me at least. Not to mention the eye candy that would have been next to me. ;)


I was surprised by Autumn's lack of reading. She was going stir crazy. Dax on the other hand was able to keep a cool head. It reminded my of 'The Breakfast Club' when they'd play games, run through the building and loose their minds a bit.


I thought the fact that Autumn was a photographer lent perfectly to how the story was captured for the book. It was a photo. Carefully angled, the subjects meticulously arranged and a tight focus. There wasn't much back story or foreshadowing. It was strictly on the now. It was a snapshot in time, capturing the story midstream, much like a photographer at an event edits his viewfinder to tell a story that happens in seconds.

Autumn bugged me. I'll admit it. I don't like wishy washy behavior. As someone who deals with Anxiety, I understand a lot of what she was going through. But I also believe in putting on your big kid panties and holding yourself accountable in relationships. Any relationships. As for Dallin. Oh Lord, did I want to whack that boy over the head with the book. He needed to group up. Fast. You would think a serious event (sorry, I can't tell you because I'd spoil it) would make him mature a little, but nooooooooo. He got worse.


Dax was an intriguing character. I felt like we could have dove deeper into his back story, but that didn't fit with the overall focus of the book. There were some really touching, emotional scenes that had me trying to hug him (the book by proxy).... yes, I'm weird. I wanted to know so much more about him. I was empathizing with him HARD. Break out the emotional pint of Ben & Jerry's....


The secondary characters weren't a huge part of the story, but her brother played a bigger role. I wish I could have seen more dialogue with him, he was my favorite. 

As for Jeff, he seemed one dimensional most of the time. I wondered what his motivations were. Some of his antics scared the crap out of me. It made you wonder what drew the two of them together in the first place. I guess opposites attract.

Autumn's future was discussed, but I think Kasie intentionally left it vague and open ended.  I hope she gains some more trust in herself and in her capabilities. It pains me to see people cling to choices based on fear of uncertainty. 


Not that the other choice (again, can't say about what, no spoilers) was a bad one, but it didn't seem like it used any natural abilities she already possessed. Her ability to communicate grew infinitesimally but it was centered around Dax, not in general. Again, I don't think the point of the book was to see major character development or long range changes, but rather a snippet of time.

Kasie West has an uncanny way of making you feel integrated into the story and the characters. Her pacing is always on point, and her ability to emotionally dunk you is impressive as always. My thirteen year old declared West her absolute favorite contemporary fiction author. And Sydney is INCREDIBLY picky by nature so consider this high praise indeed. I'll throw my two cents in and describe Kasie's writings are addictive as Girl Scout Samoas after a year long Paleo diet. You'll grab every book off the shelf and devour them in one giant binge fest. And you'll love every delicious bite. 


If you're looking for a "clean", imaginative and endearing read, you need to hop online or to your nearest bookstore and buy your copy of By Your Side today!